- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
Pa. agency moves to halt licenses for gay marriage
Says county clerk acting in defiance of existing law
Question of the Day
The battle over gay marriage in Pennsylvania, one of the last Northeast states where same-sex unions are illegal, heated up Tuesday as a state agency went to court to order a county clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“No court has declared” Pennsylvania’s marriage law “to be unconstitutional or unenforceable,” said the lawsuit, filed by the state Department of Health against D. Bruce Hanes, clerk of the Orphans’ Court of Montgomery County in Norristown, a suburb of Philadelphia.
The state asked the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to order Mr. Hanes to cease issuing “invalid” marriage licenses and obey the law, which specifically prohibits marriage licenses for couples of the same gender.
The move comes as the state’s Democratic attorney general has announced she will no longer defend the state’s marriage law against legal challenges, forcing Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to step in.
On July 23, Mr. Hanes said he “decided to come down on the right side of history” and issue licenses to gay couples, based on the advice of a county solicitor, his “own analysis of the law” and the words of Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane calling the law unconstitutional.
According to media reports, Mr. Hanes has issued more than a dozen licenses to gay couples and is continuing to issue them in defiance of the law, said the lawsuit, filed by Alison Taylor, chief counsel in the Office of Legal Counsel in Harrisburg. The lawsuit asks the court to order Mr. Hanes to “immediately cease and desist” issuing licenses to gay couples.
Around the nation, legal battles over gay marriage are expected to escalate as gay activists use the favorable Supreme Court ruling in June to push for expanded marriage rights at the state level.
Their first targets are states with marriage-like civil unions or domestic partnerships — Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii and Oregon — since these laws can be easily converted to marriage through legislative votes.
But states like Pennsylvania, which have laws or even voter-passed constitutional marriage amendments against gay marriage, will be drawn into the fight as well.
In Ohio, for instance, the former attorney general — a Republican whose lesbian daughter married a woman in Massachusetts and is now expecting a child — said he supports a campaign to repeal that state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
“It seems only right that all individuals should be free to pursue this happiness for themselves, no matter with whom they fall in love,” Jim Petro, also a former state auditor, wrote in The Columbus Dispatch this month.
Mr. Petro’s endorsement “shows that the tide is turning in favor of marriage equality in Ohio,” said Ian James, co-founder of FreedomOhio.
Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex couples to marry. The other 37 states have laws or amendments against it.
In Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union has sued state officials to overturn the state’s marriage law on behalf of several gay couples.
In response to that lawsuit, filed in early July, Mrs. Kane said she would not defend the law because, in her view, it was “wholly unconstitutional.” She delegated the job to the Office of Legal Counsel, which serves Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Corbett, a Republican.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- JAMA opinion piece calls for ending lifetime ban on blood donation by gay men
- HIV rate drops in U.S. for most groups; percentage for young gay, bisexual men up
- VH1's 'Naked Dating' outrages parents group
- Justina Pelletier talks to Republican lawmakers
- EEOC aims to stop discrimination against pregnant women
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq